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Interview with Carlos Montes

Build a broad united front for immigrant rights
by staff |
March 13, 2008
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Fight Back! interviews Carlos Montes on the next steps in the struggle for immigrant rights. Montes is a veteran leader in the Chicano liberation movement and is an important leader in the struggle for immigrant rights.

Fight Back!: What are the main fronts of struggle for the immigrant rights movement right now?

: The main fronts for the movement today are fighting back against the repression directed at undocumented immigrant workers and their families. The main front is building the movement to stop the ICE raids, detentions and deportations. The deportations are against all undocumented immigrants but it is especially hard against Latinos and more so Mexicans. 90% of those deported are Latino of those, 80% are Mexicans.

Fight Back!: How can we overcome divisions and build, a strong, united immigrant rights movement?

Montes: Broad unity can be built around opposition against the ICE repression and the demand for full legalization. Most groups will support those demands. Recently groups who had been divided have come together to oppose ICE repression like in L.A. when Elvira Arellano was deported in Aug. 19, 2007. We should understand that no one group leads the movement by itself but that it will take a broad united front of all immigrants rights groups working together, and supported by labor and other community groups. Major cities have or should organize united coalitions to work together.

Fight Back!: What’s the significance of May 1 for the immigrant rights movement? What will be happening in L.A.?

Montes: May 1 has been established as a day of struggle and solidarity for immigrants in the U.S. after the historic mega marches of May 1, 2006. This International Workers Day is now the recognized day for immigrants in the U.S. In L.A. the various coalitions and groups such as MIWON [Multi Ethnic Workers Organizing Network], May Day Unity Coalition, Hermandad Mexicana Trans Nacional and March 25 Coalition are discussing having joint actions on May 1, 2008, and not separate activities like last year.